BeerSmith 3 Questions

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SubmergedBrewing

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All,

Happy Brewing weekend!

I had a question relating to post mash gravity on beer smith. I understand the difference between post mash gravity and pre-boil gravity, but is there a way to trick the system into giving me the mash gravity prior to sparging so i know when my mash is getting close or if i should mash for longer? I have a HERMS system so I am constantly recirculating and can take samples on the fly, but would like to know if I have to mash for longer on a heavy beer.
 

day_trippr

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Copy your recipe, edit the copy, remove the sparge volume, and see what BS says the post-mash gravity is?

Cheers!
 

Oginme

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There is not enough information given within the program to give you an honest estimation of how much sugar comes from the first runnings and how much from subsequent sparges. You could have the program spit out a lookup value based upon 100% mash efficiency such as in the attached chart, courtesy of Braukaiser, but this would change based upon the actual extraction potential of the wort. If you were to use this chart, you would have at least an idea of you as looking for for the gravity.

First_wort_gravity.gif
 

eric19312

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There is not enough information given within the program to give you an honest estimation of how much sugar comes from the first runnings and how much from subsequent sparges. You could have the program spit out a lookup value based upon 100% mash efficiency such as in the attached chart, courtesy of Braukaiser, but this would change based upon the actual extraction potential of the wort. If you were to use this chart, you would have at least an idea of you as looking for for the gravity.

View attachment 652074
I do use that chart and wish BeerSmith provided this calculation. EST mash gravity at 100% conversion. It’s a really useful brew day number to have on hand.
 

Oginme

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So far the two that have chimed in have indicated they think the idea of conversion efficiency is too advanced for typical beersmith users...
I think that is a mischaracterization of the feedback. It is a matter of how many users care about it and would use it. If enough people chime in and there are not other fixes that need addressing, then Brad may look at adding it. I will stand by my statement that 99% of the users are not looking for the info that power users would be.
 

brewbama

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All,

Happy Brewing weekend!

I had a question relating to post mash gravity on beer smith. I understand the difference between post mash gravity and pre-boil gravity, but is there a way to trick the system into giving me the mash gravity prior to sparging so i know when my mash is getting close or if i should mash for longer? I have a HERMS system so I am constantly recirculating and can take samples on the fly, but would like to know if I have to mash for longer on a heavy beer.


I use Sean Terrill’s Batch Sparge Calc so I know what to look for:

http://seanterrill.com/2013/10/05/batch-sparging-calculator/
 

eric19312

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I think that is a mischaracterization of the feedback. It is a matter of how many users care about it and would use it. If enough people chime in and there are not other fixes that need addressing, then Brad may look at adding it. I will stand by my statement that 99% of the users are not looking for the info that power users would be.
OK sorry that's how it was received by me maybe I am think skinned.

Wait now I see...you were the one who suggested that we put in a suggestion to Brad. But I am still perplexed by your argument against the suggestion when I did that. Perhaps you could of helped me reword the request but why suggest I make the request and then argue against it on some other forum?
 

Oginme

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I think if you read it back over, brewfun and I both said it would be good information to have, but it is not critical to the majority of the users. When it comes to new features, those where more people are asking for it get the priority from Brad. Having helped hundreds of users through BeerSmith set-ups, system balancing, and issues, I am pretty sure that many would see it as more clutter on the page. Still, I would be happy if it were present.
 

eric19312

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I understand the difference between post mash gravity and pre-boil gravity,
Could you guys help me out here? I don't get the rationale for tracking both post mash gravity and pre-boil gravity. Even in situation where you add sugar or extract before the beginning of the boil do you actually measure the gravity after the sugar addition? [I've never added sugar before boil since extract days...when I do use sugars they are always added late in the boil at the earliest, more typically in the whirlpool.] I've been told in the other forum that its common to add sugar after mash before you start boiling in Ron Pattinson's British Ale recipes. Those that are brewing this way, do you actually measure gravity before and after that sugar addition? I'd think the "after" would be evident unless you were looking to confirm the sugar got fully dissolved before you started boiling.

I can see so much more value in tracking conversion efficiency but clearly others see it differently and I'm actually curious about what I am missing.
 

kevin58

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I'm one of those who use recipes as published by Ron Pattinson and very many of them include invert sugars. Of course I actually measure the gravity after the sugar addition. Like anyone else I want to know the OG of my wort.
 

eric19312

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I'm one of those who use recipes as published by Ron Pattinson and very many of them include invert sugars. Of course I actually measure the gravity after the sugar addition. Like anyone else I want to know the OG of my wort.
But OG is after boil
Why do you measure after mash and then again pre boil? Is that a british thing?
 

Oginme

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But OG is after boil
Why do you measure after mash and then again pre boil? Is that a british thing?
I measure post mash to get a check on my mash efficiency. Pre-boil, if sugars are added so that when I get to the end of the boil, I have a process check (sugar point balance) to ensure that my readings are valid.

I am kind of at a loss in understanding something. You want to have conversion efficiency calculated in the program, slots for pH of the wort post boil and post fermentation, and yet question why someone would want basic process information which confirms the validity of the process and measurements recorded?

The program is written to try to give as many brewers of differing types and levels of experience a fairly basic process and recipe design model. I have no issue with asking for added features which are important to you. While you may not see or take advantage of other features in the software, they are there because other brewers do use them.

For many years I did not keg my beer, it did not make the forced carbonation section of the program invalid as others users want and appreciate it. Same goes with the bits you would like to see in the program.
 

eric19312

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I measure post mash to get a check on my mash efficiency. Pre-boil, if sugars are added so that when I get to the end of the boil, I have a process check (sugar point balance) to ensure that my readings are valid.

I am kind of at a loss in understanding something. You want to have conversion efficiency calculated in the program, slots for pH of the wort post boil and post fermentation, and yet question why someone would want basic process information which confirms the validity of the process and measurements recorded?

The program is written to try to give as many brewers of differing types and levels of experience a fairly basic process and recipe design model. I have no issue with asking for added features which are important to you. While you may not see or take advantage of other features in the software, they are there because other brewers do use them.

For many years I did not keg my beer, it did not make the forced carbonation section of the program invalid as others users want and appreciate it. Same goes with the bits you would like to see in the program.
Sorry I’m so obtuse on this issue. But to me the idea of measuring gravity, then adding a weighed quantity of sugar or extract and then measuring gravity again is only of use if you don’t trust your first gravity measurement or scale. Conversion efficiency is not a check on prior measurements, it is new information that could be used to diagnose overall efficiency issues.

Edited to add...actually if it’s a sugar balance you are looking for wouldn’t it be better to collect a post boil volume so that all kettle sugar additions could be checked at once?

Edited one more time...just rechecked, and still post boil volume is not a recorded measurement. So maybe you need that pre boil gravity but everyone who adds sugars after start of boil is left out of ability to sugar balance.
 
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TheMadKing

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Sorry I’m so obtuse on this issue. But to me the idea of measuring gravity, then adding a weighed quantity of sugar or extract and then measuring gravity again is only of use if you don’t trust your first gravity measurement or scale. Conversion efficiency is not a check on prior measurements, it is new information that could be used to diagnose overall efficiency issues.

Edited to add...actually if it’s a sugar balance you are looking for wouldn’t it be better to collect a post boil volume so that all kettle sugar additions could be checked at once?

Edited one more time...just rechecked, and still post boil volume is not a recorded measurement. So maybe you need that pre boil gravity but everyone who adds sugars after start of boil is left out of ability to sugar balance.
I fully agree with this

One thing you could add to your BeerSmith post is to explain exactly why it's useful other than "it helps diagnose efficiency issues"

So to put it another way, having estimated pre-sparge gravity in the session tab would allow the brewer to spot check the gravity of the mash before sparging to ensure that it is within an acceptable range while there's still something that can be done about it

Checking the gravity of the wort after sparging is too late to fix anything, but if there is a problem with the mash, and your pre-sparge gravity is very low, the brewer could mash longer, stir the mash, etc to correct the issue.

To me this is a fundamental check point in the brewing process and is very easy to estimate.

You can actually trick BeerSmith into spitting out this number if you duplicate your recipe, set your mash to BIAB, fiddle with your losses to make your preboil volume equal your mash volume in your original recipe, and then simply read the preboil gravity

It's exactly the same as calculating preboil gravity for BIAB and is a very basic place to check the progress of your process. It should not be considered an advanced technique in my mind.
 

eric19312

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I fully agree with this

One thing you could add to your BeerSmith post is to explain exactly why it's useful other than "it helps diagnose efficiency issues"

So to put it another way, having estimated pre-sparge gravity in the session tab would allow the brewer to spot check the gravity of the mash before sparging to ensure that it is within an acceptable range while there's still something that can be done about it

Checking the gravity of the wort after sparging is too late to fix anything, but if there is a problem with the mash, and your pre-sparge gravity is very low, the brewer could mash longer, stir the mash, etc to correct the issue.

To me this is a fundamental check point in the brewing process and is very easy to estimate.

You can actually trick BeerSmith into spitting out this number if you duplicate your recipe, set your mash to BIAB, fiddle with your losses to make your preboil volume equal your mash volume in your original recipe, and then simply read the preboil gravity

It's exactly the same as calculating preboil gravity for BIAB and is a very basic place to check the progress of your process. It should not be considered an advanced technique in my mind.
For me using Kai’s table is probably less work than tricking BeerSmith. But I’ll try it, probably not that hard if you make a couple custom profiles. Like you say math is not hard and it’s extremely useful to have the target on brew day.

I do hear the push back on complexity. BeerSmith was pretty dang intimidating when I started using it and I can hear the moderator’s pain at being unpaid tech support staff walking new brewers through the software.

Actually here is another solution...
https://www.brewersfriend.com/brewhouse-efficiency/
 
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kevin58

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But OG is after boil
Why do you measure after mash and then again pre boil? Is that a british thing?
My bad. You are correct and I realized that later in the evening when I didn't have a chance to clarify my wording.

Sorry I’m so obtuse on this issue. But to me the idea of measuring gravity, then adding a weighed quantity of sugar or extract and then measuring gravity again is only of use if you don’t trust your first gravity measurement or scale.
Because the sugars I use are included in my recipe design and they are part of my pre boil gravity estimates.
 

eric19312

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Adjust boil time. Add DME.
These are standard techniques for fixing a beer when the mash didn't go as planned. But by checking for complete conversion you add the ability to extend the mash at your last step before mash out and fix the issue before the wort hits the kettle.

I'd much prefer not to have to resort to DME additions to fix a mash problem. Adjusting boil off is better but limited if the recipe includes first wort hops and may impact ability to reach intended volume.

Its funny but 2/3 of my suggestions (which were rejected by the BS forum Grandmasters) are features that are included in Brewer's Friend. The conversion efficiency calculator linked above and the ability to attach pictures to the recipe. I'm sure there are other things in BF I would not like and have no intent on switching platforms having spent about 100 batches dialing in BS3 but I think it's at least evidence that I'm not only one who things these features would be at least in the realm of "nice to haves".
 

Oginme

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Sorry I’m so obtuse on this issue. But to me the idea of measuring gravity, then adding a weighed quantity of sugar or extract and then measuring gravity again is only of use if you don’t trust your first gravity measurement or scale. Conversion efficiency is not a check on prior measurements, it is new information that could be used to diagnose overall efficiency issues.

Edited to add...actually if it’s a sugar balance you are looking for wouldn’t it be better to collect a post boil volume so that all kettle sugar additions could be checked at once?

Edited one more time...just rechecked, and still post boil volume is not a recorded measurement. So maybe you need that pre boil gravity but everyone who adds sugars after start of boil is left out of ability to sugar balance.
Some of my past is in process engineering, process control and modeling. So yes, that is the way I look at the process. As I have said before, not everyone looks at using the software the same way. I can acknowledge that and accept it.

I do suggest that these recommendations be surfaced to Brad, because I do not know how many of them are pretty easy fixes for him to install and, since they seem to be of value to other users, made available. I certainly have made my fair share of what I think would be the most effective improvements when beta testing and afterwards.

While it may seem simple to just assume the contribution of a plain sugar, realize that some of the simple sugars users (and I include myself) use are not particularly standardized. I get honey from a local beekeeper, maple syrup from someone who makes their own and I can get the blackstrap that I prefer for brewing, prepackaged LME does not always make it into the pot, etc. Some of these are not standardized for sugar content.

My preference for Brad is to concentrate on some of the deficiencies in the software: Fixing the estimation of pre-boil/post mash gravity to take into account the relationship between temperature and gravity (right now it applies the thermal expansion coefficient equally regardless of actual wort temperature), adding an input for post boil volume, providing the calculations for water retention in the grains and actual boil off rate to help people optimize their , and incorporating the grain absorption rate into the equipment profile instead of it being a universal setting. There is a lot to consider doing and prioritization is at the hands and whim of the developer.
 

TheMadKing

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These are standard techniques for fixing a beer when the mash didn't go as planned. But by checking for complete conversion you add the ability to extend the mash at your last step before mash out and fix the issue before the wort hits the kettle.

I'd much prefer not to have to resort to DME additions to fix a mash problem. Adjusting boil off is better but limited if the recipe includes first wort hops and may impact ability to reach intended volume.

Its funny but 2/3 of my suggestions (which were rejected by the BS forum Grandmasters) are features that are included in Brewer's Friend. The conversion efficiency calculator linked above and the ability to attach pictures to the recipe. I'm sure there are other things in BF I would not like and have no intent on switching platforms having spent about 100 batches dialing in BS3 but I think it's at least evidence that I'm not only one who things these features would be at least in the realm of "nice to haves".
Agreed, and I would rather undershoot my gravity than use DME in a beer unless it would be totally untastable like in a barleywine or a stout or something.

I actually switched from BIAB to 3-vessel herms recently and was immediately frustrated by not being able to see my mash gravity estimate. It seemed like such a basic and obvious test point, and something that BeerSmith was already calculating for my BIAB batches that I was actually incredulous that it was not available when I started looking for it.
 

eric19312

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Some of my past is in process engineering, process control and modeling. So yes, that is the way I look at the process. As I have said before, not everyone looks at using the software the same way. I can acknowledge that and accept it.

I do suggest that these recommendations be surfaced to Brad, because I do not know how many of them are pretty easy fixes for him to install and, since they seem to be of value to other users, made available. I certainly have made my fair share of what I think would be the most effective improvements when beta testing and afterwards.

While it may seem simple to just assume the contribution of a plain sugar, realize that some of the simple sugars users (and I include myself) use are not particularly standardized. I get honey from a local beekeeper, maple syrup from someone who makes their own and I can get the blackstrap that I prefer for brewing, prepackaged LME does not always make it into the pot, etc. Some of these are not standardized for sugar content.

My preference for Brad is to concentrate on some of the deficiencies in the software: Fixing the estimation of pre-boil/post mash gravity to take into account the relationship between temperature and gravity (right now it applies the thermal expansion coefficient equally regardless of actual wort temperature), adding an input for post boil volume, providing the calculations for water retention in the grains and actual boil off rate to help people optimize their , and incorporating the grain absorption rate into the equipment profile instead of it being a universal setting. There is a lot to consider doing and prioritization is at the hands and whim of the developer.
Yep everyone has their own style and I’ll agree the thermal expansion treatment could be improved. Possibly these issues make more difference depending on how far down the “dialed in” curve you have progressed.

For example I got a new malt mill about 20 batches back and have been working to optimize crush from this mill for my system. I recirculate so hunting for best balance of crush coarse enough for unrestricted flow through the bed and fine enough to fully convert during a 60 min mash.
 

pricelessbrewing

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Just putting my two cents in, my software has both dynamic thermal expansion, and gravities for every volume (first/second runnings, pre/post boil).
 
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